Last month, US-based CareerBuilder, one of the largest independent technology companies in the HR space, named Irina Novoselsky as the company's CEO. With this, Irina became the first female CEO of the company.
Irina, who came to US as a refugee from the former Soviet Union, has experienced firsthand that if you work hard and focus on teamwork and inclusiveness, you not only can live your dreams but help others live them too. So while she is proud to have broken the glass ceiling, but is looking forward to the day when we no longer have to say “woman CEO.”
In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Irina speaks about how aside from leading CareerBuilder in writing the next chapter, she is excited to be part of a leadership team that is growing more diverse.
You are the first woman CEO of CareerBuilder. How does it feel and what has been your journey like?
I’m excited to be the CEO of such an innovative, mission-driven company. CareerBuilder has been a major industry leader and disruptor for nearly 25 years. The things we’re doing with AI and mobile technology will change the way companies experience talent acquisition and the way workers experience job search. It’s a company built on passion, grit and a mission to help millions of people around the world find jobs that can change their lives. Leading this mission and driving transformation in our company and industry is both exhilarating and humbling.
As for being the first woman CEO, it’s an interesting question for me to answer. I’m proud to have the distinction of being the first female in this position, but I’m looking forward to the day when we no longer have to say “woman CEO.”
“When we talk about “first woman CEO,” that makes the story about me. But this isn’t about me.” It’s about helping people find meaningful work that enables them to build better lives. That’s the story. It always has been.
What is going to be your focus as you assume your new role in CareerBuilder?
One of the things I quickly learned when I joined CareerBuilder a year ago is that we’re a tech company first. We use that technology to innovate in the human capital space, but we are a tech company first. Most people know our job board, but they don’t know the full breadth of services we have to offer.
“My focus will be on taking CareerBuilder to the next level as the leader in AI-powered, “hello to hire” solutions - and telling that story to the world.”
Our competitors have historically gone to market in a very fragmented way and that has put a lot of the work on the shoulders of our buyers. Employers often have several different vendors for media, sourcing, career sites, applicant tracking, background checks, onboarding, and benefits administration. This provides a disjointed, inefficient experience for recruiters and candidates, and employers don’t have an end-to-end view of their candidate data. They keep passing that data off to the next vendor.
I think CareerBuilder has a great opportunity to change that experience because we cover every step of the process, layering services on top of the software. We look at that entire HR budget to see how we can make things smarter, faster, easier and more cost-effective. We are using AI technology to transform the way companies hire, screen and onboard their talent and the way job seekers build their careers - that will continue to be the main focus for me.
How is technology changing the online job search space in the US? What are some of the trends in online recruitment space in the US?
“AI and machine learning are opening the door to a whole new world of possibility for the human capital space.”
Our research shows that more than half of HR managers feel AI will become a regular part of HR within 5 years. With our AI technology, we can build a job description or a resume in less than a minute. We can tell you which candidates not only match your jobs, but are more likely to respond based on various signals. We can increase diversity hiring. We can help to upskill the workforce. And what is exciting is that we’re just at the cusp of what this technology can do.
Job search is primarily taking place on mobile devices. Approximately 70 percent of CareerBuilder’s audience comes through mobile devices. What you have to remember is that job seekers are consumers and they expect to have the same fast, easy one-click experience that they have on other sites like Amazon. And the AI technology becomes even more critical in a mobile experience because you have to take all the robust content you receive on a desktop and make it fit in a meaningful way on a much smaller screen.
There is an accelerated move toward consolidation. HR teams are being asked to do more with less, so the need to increase efficiencies – both time-wise and cost-wise – is paramount. There is an accelerated move toward consolidation of vendors so the experience is streamlined, data is centralized and the whole process is faster.
With AI at the forefront of recruiting, do you think it is good for diversity hiring? Can AI fully remove the bias in hiring?
It’s definitely good for diversity hiring. In our AI tools, we don’t use the words he or she and have put other features in place to make it difficult for biases around gender, race and other factors to come in. AI can play an important role in helping to remove biases and facilitate an equal playing field for candidates, but organizations also need to have a very conscious goal to pull diversity initiatives through effectively.
For example, CareerBuilder has been working closely with one of the world’s largest financial firms who wanted to significantly increase their diversity hiring for financial advisor roles. Prior to working with us, the number of diverse candidates applying to these roles was less than 12 percent of their total applicants. With our AI technology, 72 percent of the 65,000 total leads they received for financial advisor roles over the last 3+ years have been diverse.
What is the future of recruiting going to look like? Is the role of a recruiter going to be diminished?
I think the role of the recruiter is going to evolve and become more elevated. Right now, HR/recruiting managers say they lose an average of 14 hours a week manually completing tasks that could be automated. That means they are losing two days they could be spending on what gives them the greatest ROI, which is talking to candidates.
Technology is going to automate labor-intensive, repetitive tasks and provide smarter data, so that recruiters can focus on the human element and consultative element of their jobs.
“While not a new concept, more companies are viewing recruiters as marketers.”
In addition to understanding software systems used in HR, recruiters also need to have a strong grasp of marketing strategy and execution as it pertains to their role. More recruiters are coming into the forefront on social media and other channels to promote the employment brand and engage talent. Knowledge of effectively deploying marketing technology will become more central to the role as they compete with other employment brands for top talent.
Is resume-based hiring going to become completely redundant?
No, sourcing resumes will continue to be an important part of the hiring process. How companies do it is changing: centralizing candidate data, using AI to instantly match candidates to jobs, automatically remarketing to candidates over time, etc.
The resume itself will likely evolve. Companies are leaning on technologies that aggregate candidate info from social pages and other channels to build profiles - CareerBuilder has more than 125 million profiles on top of nearly 50 million resumes.
“The typical two-page resume will likely evolve into a more holistic, profile-type format. You get more insights that way.”
The recruitment space is now seeing the entry of tech giants like Google and Facebook-how does CareerBuilder aim to differentiate its services from them and hold its ground?
Tech giants like Google and Facebook don’t want to fully immerse themselves in the HR technology space. Given that CareerBuilder has always had an open ecosystem, we were a first mover in partnering with them because we believe it provides a great opportunity to drive incremental value for our clients and job seekers.
Google is a longtime partner of ours. We were one of the first companies Google talked to when they wanted to launch Google for Jobs. We collaborated with them early on and we are one of the largest providers of jobs content to them. Google also powers the consumer search for careerbuilder.com and our 4,000 talent networks. We also work closely with Facebook and provide jobs to their marketplace.
The key differentiator for CareerBuilder is the fact that we offer end-to-end solutions for hiring, screening and onboarding talent. We have billions of candidate data points to help you plan strategies. We have job distribution in 185 global markets. We have a sourcing platform that centralizes all your candidate data. We have a modern ATS. We have the fastest background check service. We have a highly configurable benefits administration tool. We address every step of the “hello to hire” lifecycle whereas Google and Facebook focus on one slice of that process.